Google Algorithm Update will Prioritize Mobile Websites in Search

Google recently announced that they will be using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in driving search results to users, beginning this April.

In the announcement, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog stated:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

That means mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive sites will earn better positioning in Google’s mobile search engine results, and sites that are not optimized for mobile will see less mobile, organic traffic.

This all makes sense. More and more people access the web on mobile devices, and it’s Google’s job to return to you what is user-friendly and relevant, or you won’t come back. The problem is, this will impact small local business owners the most, as many don’t have marketing departments or budgets to create responsive web sites, yet many of their customers rely on Google search to find local services. Google does aim to provide many robust resources to help developers prepare and optimize websites. You can even test if a site is mobile ready according to Google.

Google has been recommending responsive web design for years now, but this is the first time they have officially announced that it will have an impact on search as a result.

Originally posted here.

Where is social media going?

Now that it’s nearing the end of 2014, I’ve summarized my thoughts below:

  • People are spending more and more time connected. This is no longer a space that is an add-on for brands, it deserves attention, expertise, and resources. The brands who don’t realize this will be left behind and miss out on earned reach social media brings.
  • Many core platforms have become “pay-to-play” platforms focusing on reach rather than organic engagement. Facebook is now essentially an ad platform – content does not perform (and only reaches about 2% of an audience) without a paid boost. To be on the platform, you must have a budget.
  • The social space is becoming crowded and each platform now has a unique role for consumers. Repurposing the same content across various platform no longer works.
  • Consumers will have more power to control a product/brand in the future. They have opinions, they hijack campaigns, and they aren’t afraid to tell brans what they want. If you’re not listening to your consumers via social media, you better start now.
  • Content is influencing SEO more than ever before, and social media platforms provide more places to publish branded content.
  • The “internet of things” is something to think about when thinking about products and marketing campaigns. People are connected in a variety of ways, with a variety of devices – how to we touch our target consumer in all of these digital touchpoints?
  • Social Analytics can be used to make solid business predictions. We use social conversation data (volume, content) to make decisions on things like timing of campaign launches, or the next product innovations we can explore.

Reflection on my MBA experience

May 22, 2013 was a hot, humid day that began with clouds and drizzles and ended with sun, smiles, and celebration as me and the rest of the Rutgers MBA class of 2013 walked across the stage at NJPAC in Newark, NJ to receive our diplomas.

“How do you feel!?” my classmate Julie asked a few of us as we lined up: https://vine.co/v/b90O9Vq5zJY

I remember when I realized that I wanted to earn my MBA. The idea started bubbling up in my head when I realized that, since I was a kid, I had been coming up with business ideas. By the end of my sophomore year of college, I had a folder on my computer that held  about 12 ideas – logos, business plan drafts, and (light) research included. After one semi-successful pitch, I learned I that I really, really, liked the idea of starting a business and creating a strategy to market it. The person who I pitched to was a successful CEO of a marketing agency who told me  that I was an “idea person.” This both flattered and fueled me to want to really become this  professional “idea person” he saw in me.  That summer, I bought a book called “The portable MBA in Marketing.”

hannah top

The idea of earning my MBA was cemented when I was in my senior year of college.  I was sitting in the student union working on a PR assignment between classes. My mind strayed to questions that weren’t part of the assignment: How much of a budget does PR get in the real world? How do you measure the ROI of a PR campaign in actual sales, not just in media hits?  What if there was an integrated campaign using social media?  I realized that as much as I liked PR, I loved the strategy of using it as a tool among a greater business objective even more. I went to class and asked these questions to my PR professor. She looked at me and said, “Hannah, I think you need to be a marketer.” She continued to answer my questions with examples from her experience as a corporate PR professional at a large pharma company. When I left class, I was committed to learning more about business – and I knew that getting my MBA was how I would do that.

“Be a leader that serves. When you care about others, they follow you. Be that kind of leader.” -Kevin Cummings, CEO, Investors Bank, Rutgers Business School MBA Commencement Speaker

When I first got accepted into the program, I was excited, but incredibly nervous. I was about to enter a program part-time having just turned 23 when the average age was 28. The students were much more experienced than I was. Having been a PR major focused on journalism, I hadn’t taken a real exam in years. In college I was tested on the quality of my news stories and if I was fluent in AP style. The thought of taking accounting and finance while sitting in a room full of business professionals was an intimidating one.

And sure, there were classes where between the buzzwords and math, I became overwhelmed. I spent a lot of time re-reading to catch up. These classes challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone, and as a result I learned a great deal. Supply Chain Management taught me the impact of efficiency not only on bottom line, but for the greater good. Accounting taught me to give a lot of credit to all my CPA friends (and also that I will always, always need to hire one). Finance taught me how to map out revenue projections and gave my entrepreneurial projects some real meat.

Then there were those classes that I naturally loved. Equally, I learned a lot in these. Strategy tied all aspects of business together by showing me what drives each part of business and how to align those goals, and how important planning is in both business – and in life. Business Law taught me how much business and law is tied together. Organizational Behavior taught me to be a leader, not a manager. Doing Green Business in Costa Rica taught me about how an entire country is completely aligned and committed to making their businesses carbon-neutral (truly amazing).

These are just some of the classes that inspired, but there were so many more. I always knew I was a curious person, but this program taught me to think analytically.  The MBA answered a lot of my questions about business specifically, but at the same time made me realize I will be a lifelong learner.

In the part-time MBA, there were long nights, lots of weekends spent reading long Harvard Business Cases and countless missed happy hours. There were weeknight classes after long days of work, and Saturday classes – even in the summer.  But, I wouldn’t trade my experience in the MBA program for the world. It was in the MBA program where I gave my first real pitch in front of investors. It’s where I created 3 full business plans and where I placed in two business plan competitions. It’s where I started my own business. It’s where I made some of my best friends and where I found amazing mentors. I learned so much about the world of business, and I feel completely ready to attack what’s next in my career and my life, learning and growing along the way.

hannah bottom

“I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”

These are two of my favorite quotes. They keep me going when my aspiration to become an entrepreneur gets [momentarily] derailed by pesky problems like patent issues and competition.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
– Albert Einstein

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” – Charles F. Kettering

I will keep on dreaming. I will keep on taking things apart and trying to improve them. I will keep on trying to solve problems, and I will always keep on creating.

I miss you Twitter. But it’s okay.

I’m a self-proclaimed social media addict, but I haven’t been very active my own Twitter account – @hannahlah – much at all lately. Recently, I was called out for this by a friend/follower. So, I decided to write about a few reasons why this is, and in my opinion, they’re pretty legit.

First, I’ve been busy on another account.
Luckily for me, I now work at a kick-ass social media agency on a kick-ass account. Which means I’m logged into my client’s kick-ass Twitter page all the time. Sure, I have social listening tools, but there’s nothing like some manual watching and digging as well. Monitoring my client’s social accounts (there are multiple) is always my go-to when I power-up my computer in the morning, am waiting for a bus, or am catching up on TV. It’s my new obsession (and I get paid to do it – lucky me!).

Secondly, there are so many social distractions.
Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, Wikipedia. There are so many sources of information (and distraction) these days, in addition to my Facebook news feed full of my friends’ activities. I find myself gravitating towards Instagram and Pinterest more than ever lately. This probably has to do with my being a visual learner, and the fact that most online content is becoming more visual, so we’re becoming spoiled with it. Either way, there are a lot more places to spend my time online than ever before.

Finally, life got in the way.
It’s been a rough year. Between taking more classes than I could handle when I was wrapping up my MBA, a few health issues of my own and even more serious health issues of both my parents, I’ve had little time to frolick around in the online space as @hannahlah. There is some positive that’s coming out of these events: I’ve re-prioritized what’s important in my life, with a strong focus on cherishing my time with family/friends. And as much of a social geek I am, Twitter just isn’t at the top of my list ;)